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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Netflix confuses subscribers with a canny idea...

Price hikes. They are riding on the ECON 101 rule of growth and competitiveness in an industry. From my perspective, I was ok with paying half dozen bucks more a month after I heard the news couple of months ago. I think the money I pay for the service and access to the huge library I get is worth. But I am not on the same page with many of the 23 million domestic subscribers. We all do not need to be...

Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, sent an apology email to all domestic subscribers for the current pricing disappointment the company has given to their subscribers. The email also contains a brief on the company's plan to separate their streaming (Netflix) and DVD rental unit (will be named as Qwikster). Why? Why would they do such thing when everyone is still coping with the mess company has recently created? And I can imagine a canny idea behind this.

Internet access is ubiquitous. YouTube, Amazon Instant Streaming, Dish Network's acquisition of Blockbuster library and many more to come to share a pie of video streaming business. Growth is going to be good for next few years. Decline phase is not in sight. While the reverse is the destiny for DVD business which has sluggish growth forecasts and is going to be nearly unseen in next 10-15 years. In simple language, if weak outlook for DVD business persists, then Netflix (streaming only) is a better place to get handsome ROI than Netflix (Current: streaming + DVD).

"Wall Street to Netflix: Try Again". I read that on Twitter. After Hastings's public apology, share price tumbled further. So, a tweet justifies a stock market reaction to this event. But now I do not think alike. This seems like a smart move to me rather than pleasing the investors on day-to-day basis. Growth is not immortal. The more you extend your maturity phase, the longer you survive. And Netflix may have learned that already.

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